Waterville police sergeant disciplined after mistreating homeless man

Posted July 18, 2013, at 9:46 a.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — A Waterville police sergeant has been disciplined by the department after a homeless man claimed he was mistreated.

Brian Charette, 33, sent a signed written statement to the department that Sgt. Brian Gardiner had called him a “mental retard” during an incident in May, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

Massey said Charette subsequently received a reply from Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey stating that the allegations made against Gardiner were substantiated and that Waterville police were handling the matter internally.

The police chief could not get into specifics on how Gardiner was disciplined, citing it as a personnel matter.

“It was handled internally and we in fact upheld the complaint,” said Massey, “in other words, the investigation showed it was valid so we took action against the officer. “

Charette was arrested earlier this month after threatening a different officer with pit bulls, Massey said, but a charge of attempted aggravated assault has since been dropped. Charette does have a lengthy criminal history, but details of his record weren’t immediately available.

Gardiner has been with the Waterville Police Department since 2005 and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in January, Massey said. He said complaints against police officers are rare.

“For the amount of calls for service that we have per year and the number of people we interact with on a daily basis we get very few complaints,” said Massey. “Most of the time its a complaint of rudeness and we take them very seriously.”

Details of the May incident in which Charette was called a mental retard were not available.

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